EYE TO EYE, OR ABOUT LOVE
It’s well-known what will happen if you stare at the sun for a long time. But what about looking into the eyes of a stranger for three minutes? Well, if they are at least a little good-looking, you could fall in love with him or her. Let’s analyze this thesis, but it’s possible that I can refute it.
Everyone’s heard of this experiment conducted back in the 1980s. Social psychologist Arthur Aaron had relative strangers ask each other 36 questions that allowed them to become acquainted. It then dawned on him to add one element: after the questions, they had to look each other in the eyes for 3 minutes.
And they started to fall in love.
Science says that there’s a connection between a long look in the eyes and forming a loving relationship. The eyes aren’t just the window to the soul, but also a neural path that leads to the brain mechanism responsible for love.
Nowadays, this goes nowhere without linking it to the brain, as if marriages take place in the neurons. But let’s say this is so…
Scientists believe that all the poets’ charming views have a physiological basis. There are more neurons associated with vision than there are of the other senses combined, and around 80% of information that we receive from the outside world comes through the eyes – yet another reason to go to the ophthalmologist when something is wrong.
Experiments, devoted to the connection of the eyes with love, are now underway and in full-swing.
And it all began before Aaron. In the 1970s, it was shown that people with stronger love relationships look at each other significantly longer than others. During conversation, the majority of people devote only 30-60% of the time to eye contact, but loving couples look at each other for 75% of conversation.
Let me throw this great scientific discovery into question. Among all cultural differences in different societies, it is not accepted to stare at strangers. It’s perceived as in invasion of personal space or even aggression. Simple people will look at you and say, “What are you looking at?”, while the complex opt for the more subtle, “Can I help you?”
The measure of acquaintance is a continuum. The more familiar, the longer or more often you can look at them; it’s clear that loving couples are less strict. Much of it also depends on how extroverted the participants are.
Nevertheless, there’s something to this. Aaron believes that the two strongest factors for falling in love through eye contact are 1. your partner is attractive to you, and 2. you think that they like you.
A long, mutual gaze works on both of these factors, but what’s the cause and effect?
Is love a result of the eyes, or is eye contact a result of love? The answer is the typically noncommittal “both yes and no”.
FROM LUCK TO LOVE
There are different views. I don’t know if it’s necessary to be a neurologist or psychiatrist, like Stephanie Cacioppo, in order to say, “We think that we know what love is, but in reality we do not.”
After lengthy research, a group of scientists under her leadership concluded that a lustful look differs from a loving one. But here, at least, is something useful from the world of psychology:
A lustful look is usually directed at the body, while a loving look – the eyes. And the first is more sultry, rushing about the object, while the second is more stable.
Cacioppo believes that lust can transform into love. “Passionate love,” she says, “can grow out of desire.”
Scientists argue that different neurons in the brain fire with different intentions. I wonder when this medieval method of “ignition” in different parts of the brain will be replaced by something less primitive.
If everything about looking at each other, and then falling in love, is true, then an actual physical encounter is in principle unnecessary. Skype would be enough. But then again, it is important that in addition to looking, you have decent vision in the first place. Otherwise, you could blindly fall in love with the wrong person and pay for the rest of your life.
P.S. The mechanism or program of love in us has been inherent from the beginning. And to include this mechanism, sometimes it’s enough just to look. Not too romantic? Yes, we would like something more difficult. If there is no mystery, then we’re still robots.
Let’s not be like that. Even doctors must be chosen deliberately.